An Elegy on the Death of the Honourable Nicholas Lowe, Esq. by Ebenezer Cooke

Memor esto brevís Aeví1

What means this Mourning, Ladies, has Death led,
Your Brother Captive to his Earthly Bed?
Is Lowe to Nature’s chilly Womb returned,
Who cautiously the fatal Summons shun’d?
And Very rarely moisten would his Clay
For Fear he should a final Visit pay
To the opacous Mansions of the Dead,
By Worms, vile Reptiles, be devouréd.
Here Kings and Beggars lie, the Gulph have shot,
Together blended in the general Lot;
Mingle their Dust, and into Ashes turn;
Distinguish’d only by a gilded Urn,
The marble Tomb erected o’er their Pile,
Who sway’d the Sceptre of Great Britain’s Isle.
Victorious DEATH, all are alike to Thee,
The tender Saplin and the Almond Tree;
When FATE commands thou levellst with the Ground,
The pointed Dart gave Lowe his mortal Wound.
No human Art can brittle Life prolong,
Our Days are numbered and we must be gone
Or soon or late to whom we do belong.
As so on the vigorous Youth as aged Swain,
Never, ah! never to return again.
Why Should we then Lowe’s Absence grieve, since all
Have shar’d the Punishment by Adam’s Fall
But Ah! Maecenas, who his Death can bear,
His conduct knew, and unconcerned appear.
How could our Agent in his Winding Sheet
The Deathless Trunk become bound Hand and Feet,
Oh! not in Floods of Tears his Exit mourn
His Ghost surrendered with a dying Groan;
For if Lowe’s Life impartially we scan,
A cautious, sober, charitable Man;
His Conversation innocently free,
When Business called him into Company
Nor Prone to Vice, or Immorality
But tho’ none live so just as to be found
Without some Fault that may their Conscience wound,
It can be said, his Character to blast,
He liv’d and dy’d a Batchelor at last.


Lo! here he lies, wrapt in his winding Sheet,
Astraea2 bound his Hands, and DEATH his Feet
And that he might of Happiness partake,
JEHOVAH did his soul to Heaven take,
His Habeas Corpus mov’d his Body too,
And to this World he bid a long Adieu.
Exchanging all its gaudy Pageantry,
For that blest State of Immortality,
Which Saints enjoy to all Eternity.

1. Be mindful that life is brief.
2. Astraea was a Greek virgin goddess of justice, purity, innocence and precision. She was associated with the constellation of Virgo and the return of a Golden Age.

From: Cook, Ebenezer and Steiner, Bernard C. (ed.), Early Maryland Poetry: The Works of Ebenezer Cook, Gent: Laureat of Maryland, with an Appendix containing The Mousetrap, 1900, Maryland Historical Society: Baltimore, pp. 53-54.

Date: 1732

By: Ebenezer Cooke (c1665-c1732)

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